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Book Reviews in October 2002 Issue

Note from Editor
Editor's Note
by Olga Stein
Mistry, Shields and Martel are three of this year's six nominees for the Man Booker Prize. Remarkable! All three authors had appeared on Books in Canada First Novel Award shortlists: Shields in 1976 for Small Ceremonies, Martel in 1996 for Self, and Mistry's Such a Long Journey was the winner in 1992. The First Novel Award has in no small way contributed to what is described in the Globe & Mail as the "stunning apotheosis of Canadian writing that has occurred in the past two decades.
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The Illustrated History of British Columbia
by Terry Reksten

Douglas & McIntyre
280 pages $60 cloth
ISBN: 155054859x
Book Review
Vivid History and a Fine Testament
by David Berry
Not long ago, a Victoria acquaintance of mine who has never travelled across the Rockies was telling me how much he was looking forward to his first visit to Ontario. There's so much more history there, he said. Not so, I instantly replied, having lived half a life in both placesűűnot at all.
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Collected Stories
by Saul Bellow, Janis Freedman Bellow

Viking
442 pages $44 cloth
ISBN: 0670894869
Book Review
Greatness and Longevity
by Joel Yanofsky
My favourite story in Saul Bellow's latest volume of Collected Stories is "Him With His Foot in His Mouth". Its title, alone, is delectable¨an appetizer, a taste of Bellow's career-long talent for playing both ends against the middle. In this particular case, for being a Jewish writer and not seeming like one. Or maybe that should be the other way around. (Which is another Bellow talent: to encompass contradictions rather than defy them.
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Uncommon Ground:A Celebration of Matt Cohen
by Wayne Grady, et al

Knopf Canada
328 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676974856
Book Review
The Matt Cohen Companion
by Michael Greenstein
The U.S. has its two Roths¨Philip and Henry, the former overshadowing the latter; Canada has its two Cohens¨Leonard and Matt, the former overshadowing the latter. This, in spite of Leonard's two novels compared to Matt's more than twenty books of fiction. In his posthumously published memoir, Typing: A Life in 26 Keys, Matt Cohen complained about this neglect and the difficulties of being a Jewish writer in Canada.
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Schnitzler's Century: The Making of Middle Class Culture
by Peter Gay

W.W. Norton
335 pages $39.99 cloth
ISBN: 0393048934
Book Review
A Modest History
by Paul Keen
The Victorians can be a difficult group to make sense of, not least because they were themselves so thoroughly addicted to endless self-diagnosis. "Never since the beginning of Time," wrote Thomas Carlyle, one of their leading self-scrutinizers, was there "so intensely self-conscious a Society. Our whole relations to the universe and to our fellow-man have become an Inquiry, a Doubt; nothing will go on of its own accord . . . but all things must be probed into.
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
by Philip K. Dick

Del Rey
256 pages $20 paper
ISBN: 0345404475
The Minority Report
by Philip K. Dick

Pantheon
112 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 0375421874
Time Out of Joint
by Philip K. Dick

Vintage
256 pages $20 paper
ISBN: 037571927X
Dr. Bloodmoney
by Philip K. Dick

Vintage
304 pages $20 paper
ISBN: 0375719296
The Man in the High Castle
by Philip K. Dick

Vintage
272 pages $20 paper
ISBN: 0679740678
Book Review
Homeostatic Kipple: Meditations on Philip K. Dick
by Patrick R. Burger
Two young women on the street were discussing this summer's Spielberg/Cruise SF blockbuster based on Philip K. Dick's 1956 short story of the same title. "Minority Report was good until the last five minutes¨it looked like they could have ended it three times, but they didn't know which ending to choose." "I hate it when they do that." This scrap of cultural debris, of kipple, is more significant than it first appears, a happenstance reminiscent of Dick's stories.
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Fifty Seasons at Stratford
by Robert Cushman

McClelland and Stewart/Madison Press
224 pages $60 cloth
ISBN: 0771024738
Romancing The Bard:Stratford At Fifty
by Martin Hunter

Dundurn Press
304 pages $39.99 cloth
ISBN: 1550023632
Stratford Gold:50 Years, 50 Stars, 50 Conversations
by Richard Ouzounian

McArthur & Company
397 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 1552782719
Book Review
Celebrating Stratford's Fiftieth
by Keith Garebian
Several years ago at a book launch, I was in conversation with an academic eminence gris, a cultural nationalist who was truly more gris than eminence, despite all the praise he had garnered over the years in the course of pontificating about Canadian theatre. As our conversation proceeded on a short number of subjects, one being classical theatre, he stunned me by declaring that the Stratford Festival was the worst thing to have happened to Canadian theatre.
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The Story Species: Our Life-Literature Connection
by Joseph Gold

Fitzhenry & Whiteside
305 pages $32.95 cloth
ISBN: 1550417363
Book Review
The Biological Imperative of Storytelling
by Shaun Smith
In 1998 Columbia University published a lecture given by the Pulitzer winning playwright David Mamet. Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama is a tiny, brilliant book. In just 80 pages, Mamet sets us straight on the human impulse to dramatize. We all do it, we cannot not do it, it is one of the tools we use to survive.
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A New Kind of Science
by Stephen Wolfram

Wolfram Media
1280 pages $69.95 cloth
ISBN: 1579550088
Book Review
The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen!
by Lila Kari
If one were to sum up the twelve-hundred-page opus magnum of Stephen Wolfram A New Kind of Science in one sentence, that sentence could be: "Computation is the Queen of Sciences." This being in obvious contradiction with the view held by many since Plato, that mathematics is the queen of sciences and of the universe itself, it warrants some elaboration.
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Feeding the World:A Challenge for the Twenty-First Century
by Vaclav Smil

The MIT Press
360 pages
ISBN: 0262194325
Hubbert's Peak:The Impending World Oil Shortage
by Kenneth S. Deffeyes

Princeton University Press
208 pages
ISBN: 0691090866
2030: Confronting Thermageddon in Our Lifetime
by Robert Hunter

McClelland & Stewart
276 pages $36.99 cloth
ISBN: 0771042388
Book Review
What the World is Coming to Perspectives on Impending Environmental Crises
by David Colterjohn
Whether by happy coincidence or through the medium of editorial precognition, the three books reviewed here fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be assembled in several different ways. It's not that the authors agree with each other (they don't), but that the differences between them open up a sort of Zen space in which certain lines of thought can flourish. We might as well start by examining each book in turn, according to the order in which they were published.
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The Snow Geese
by William Fiennes

Random House Canada
260 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0679311653
The Eye in the Thicket
by Edited by Sean Virgo

Thistledown
280 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1894345312
The Crow Who Tampered With Time
by Lloyd Ratzlaff

Thistledown Press
136 pages $15.95 paper
ISBN: 1894345436
Book Review
Skilled Writers let the Planet state its Case
by Erling Friis-Baastad
Being a copy editor for a community newspaper has led me to the jaundiced conclusion that one of the greatest dangers facing the natural world are those who write angry letters and columns defending it.
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Canadian Notes & Queries 51-60 (1997-2001)
by Edited by John Metcalf

The Porcupine's Quill
32 pages $6 issue
ISBN: 0576 5803
Book Review
Vindicating Midas
by Chris Jennings
The Phrygian king Midas is probably best known as an avatar of avarice. Granted a wish by Dionysus, he asked "ŠLet whatever I touch become gold,'" not thinking that "whatever" would include food, water, wine and that "ŠNothing can live...in a world of gold.'" It likely marks a shift in cultural attitudes toward avarice that we describe successive success as a Midas touch, but perhaps all Midas really needed was a good editor¨Šyes, turn that to gold; no, this is better plain, real.
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Further Requirements
by Philip Larkin

Faber & Faber
377 pages $25 cloth
ISBN: 0571209459
Book Review
Poems as Instruments of Transference
by Pino Coluccio
When asked in an interview with Ian Hamilton for London Magazine in 1964 how he would characterize his development as a poet Philip Larkin answered, "I don't think I want to change; just to become better at what I am." Similarly, in a 1972 radiobroadcast celebrating his fiftieth birthday he said, "There's a great pressure on writers to Šdevelop' these days. I think the idea began with Yeats and personally I'm skeptical of it.
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Prague: a Novel
by Arthur Phillips

Random House
367 pages $37.95 cloth
ISBN: 0375507876
Book Review
The Future of the Past
by Irena Murray
In his book of essays, Art of the Novel, Milan Kundera fervently advanced the thesis that there are certain things "only the novel can do." By that he meant mostly that the novel can validate several different and even contradictory truths by the simple virtue of creating characters compelling enough to embody them in a story. Arthur Phillips's first novel, Prague, aspires to this status without, however, quite getting there
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Open
by Lisa Moore

Anansi
218 pages $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 0887841791
Book Review
Skittish Dance of Relationships¨its Tangled Ambivalence
by Kjeld Haraldsen
The messy sprawl of life, its contingencies, concessions; the chanciness, the often offhand, flippant gamble of our biggest life decisions, their repercussions, ramifications; the white, obliterating heat of desire; the intricacies of grief: these passages, these inevitabilities provide the bedrock for the stories in Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore's outstanding new collection, Open. Moore zaps us with bracing metaphors, stabs of jabbing, tart wit. Funny, brainy.
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For The Relief of Unbearable Urges
by Nathan Englander

Vintage
224 pages $17.95 paper
ISBN: 0375704434
Kaaterskill Falls
by Allegra Goodman

Delta
336 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 0385322905
Everything is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer

Houghton Mifflin
276 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0618173870
Book Review
The Shtetl in America
by B. Glen Rotchin
Hasidic cool? Shtetl chic? Whatever you may call it there is a renaissance under way in American Jewish fiction. A spate of writing from new authors in recent years indicates a trend toward redefining the Jewish voice.
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Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Cross Roads
by Michael W. Higgins and Douglas R. Letson

HarperCollins
440 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0006394299
Book Review
Renovating the Catholic Church
by Gregory Baum
Some Catholics are angry with their Church, provoked by its many contradictions. They express their complaints in books or articles in a tone of accusation, seemingly addressing the Church from a position outside of it. The more substantial literature critical of the Catholic Church, however, is produced by Catholics strongly identified with the Catholic tradition, who love their Church and think of themselves as located at its theological centre.
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How Linda Died
by Frank Davey

ECW Press
288 pages $17.95 cloth
ISBN: 1550224972
Book Review
The Passing of Linda
by Clara Thomas
HOW LINDA DIED is unique. A story of approaching death, it is a triumphant testimonial to life and love. The downward curve which would seem to be inevitable swings upward and the end brings affirmation, not despair. If you do not shrink from the title, I challenge you to open the book and read a few pages.
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Landmarks:An Anthology of New Atlantic Canadian Poetry of the Land
by Hugh MacDonald and Brent MacLaine, editors

The Acorn Press
157 pages $16.95 paper
ISBN: 0969860692
Book Review
Standing on Holy Ground, Wearing Shoes
by Steven Laird
The East Coast means different things for those who live there and those who only visit¨for the tourist it's the sea, for the residents, their way of life. It is a region where "industry" implies not only husbanding re-sources on both land and sea, but also an attitude, an approach to the habit of living and the business of surviving the privations of climate and the persistence of memory.
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Interviews
Plenty of Light and Shadow within which to Seduce the Reader: Interview with Lisa Moore
by Eva Tihanyi
Lisa Moore was born in 1964 in St. John's, Newfoundland, where she lives with her husband, stepdaughter (19), daughter (12), and son (3). She is the author of two story collections, Degrees of Nakedness (The Mercury Press, 1995) and Open (House of Anansi, 2002). She sums up her various other careers thus: "I've worked teaching, writing art criticism, a teensy bit of TV and some radio
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Prose/Poetry
The Farmer-Fisher Bard: A Look at Charles Bruce
by Carmine Starnino
Fifty-two years ago, the Governor-General's Award for Poetry was given to a collection that took as its subject a twenty-mile stretch of Nova Scotia called Chedabucto Bay
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13
by Mary-Lou Zeitoun

Porcupine's Quill
142 pages $14.95
ISBN: 0889842329
Donovan's Station
by Robin McGrath

Killick Press
193 pages $16.95
ISBN: 1894294424
The Beautiful Dead End
by Clint Hutzulak

Anvil Press
202 pages $14.95
ISBN: 1895636396
First Novels
First Novels
by W.P Kinsella
What a pleasure it is to read a novel that is highly original, clearly written and full of memorable situations and observations. The Beautiful Dead End, by Clint Hutzulak, Anvil Press, $14.95, 202 pages, ISBN: 1895636396), in its first pages appears to be just another novel about lowlifes.
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Blur
by Michelle Berry

Random House Canada
288 pages $9.88 cloth
ISBN: 0679311416
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Janet French
Fiction The private lives of Hollywood movie stars are a source of endless mystique for a curious and gossip-hungry public. Superstar and artificially cultivated beauty Emma Fine is no exception, especially when her married lover Ted is discovered bobbing face-down in her pool. Michelle Berry's Blur (Random House Canada, cloth, ISBN: 0679311416) is a fictional exploration of a public's morbid fascination with the lives of the notorious.
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Love and Other Ruins
by Karen X. Tulchinsky

Polestar Books,Vancouver
317 pages $21.95 cloth
ISBN: 1551925540
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Nikki Abraham
Fiction Comedy is tougher to write than any other kind of fiction. While every art form relies on some initial moment of recognition and sympathy on the part of the audience, successful comedy depends also on mood, i.e., someone's state of readiness to laugh. Worse, this is not a condition that can be willed into existence. On the contrary, the more willpower is invoked, the less amusement there will ultimately be.
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The secret language of girls
by Josey Vogels

Thomas Allen PublishersJosey Vogels
276 pages $21.95 paper
ISBN: 0887621023
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Sarah Rosenfeld
Fiction With 79 sources in the bibliography, its obvious Josey Vogels did her homework for her fourth book The Secret Language of Girls (Thomas Allen Publishers, 276 pages, $21.95, paper, ISBN: 0887621023). This entertaining, often hilarious read for twenty- and thirty-something females is like reading the official manual for the Secret Society of Girl Talk.
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The Inside Story: A Life in Journalism
by Anthony Westell

Dundurn Press
253 pages $29.99 cloth
ISBN: 1550023756
Brief Reviews
Journalism/Memoir
by Alexander Craig
"I was thirty-seven before I used the most difficult word in journalism¨I." So said one of the deans of British journalism, Katherine Whitehorn. Anthony Westell, one of Canada's most experienced journalists, seems to have decided to wait twice as long. He's written previous books, on public policy, but The Inside Story, A Life in Journalism (Dundurn Press, 253 pages $29.99, cloth, ISBN: 1550023756), he declares, is his first, and last, book of reminiscences.
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Tribes
by Arthur Slade

HarperTrophyCanada
144 pages $15.99 paper
ISBN: 0006391702
Coraline
by Neil Gaiman

HarperCollins
168 pages $23.99 cloth
ISBN: 0380977788
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: A Story of Discworld
by Terry Pratchett

Doubleday
272 pages $28 cloth
ISBN: 0385601239
The Rumplestiltskin Problem
by Vivian Vande Velde

Scholastic
116 pages $6.99 trade paperback
ISBN: 0439305292
The Thief Lord
by Cornelia Funke

The Chicken House Scholastic
352 pages $23.99
ISBN: 0439404371
The House of the Scorpion Atheneum Books for Young Readers
by Nancy Farmer

Simon & Schuster
382 pages $28.5 cloth
ISBN: 0689852223
Stravaganza: City of Masks
by Mary Hoffman

Bloomsbury
336 pages $13.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 0747560935
Dead Man's Gold and other stories
by Paul Yee, Illustrations by Harvey Chan

Groundwood Books
112 pages $16.95 cloth
ISBN: 0888994753
True Confessions of a Heartless Girl
by Martha Brooks

Douglas & McIntyre $12.95 paper
ISBN: 0888994761
The Secret Life of Owen Skye
by Alan Cumyn

Groundwood Books
144 pages $18.95 cloth
ISBN: 0888995067
Ingamald
by Gail Sidonie Sobat

Spotted Cow Press
110 pages $19.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 0968897762
A foreign field
by Gillian Chan

Kids Can Press $6.95 paper
ISBN: 1553373502
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
This fall, we're seeing a simply stunning selection of new books for children and young adults here in Canada and abroad and as we head into November and the 26th annual Canadian Children's Book Week, Books in Canada is gearing up to give readers a comprehensive look at new picture books, fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages
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First Novel Award
Martin Sloane takes home the Amazon.ca/ Books in Canada First Novel Award for 2001
by Daniel Richler, T. F. Rigelhof, Annabel Lyon, Eva Tihanyi
Two men and two women comprised the 2001 Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award judges' panel. They are introduced below. Daniel Richler is the Editor-in-Chief of BookTelevision: The Channel. His novel, Kicking Tomorrow, was published internationally, turned bestseller in Canada and was named one of the New York Times Book Review's best books of 1992.
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Great Authors
Appreciating Charles Bruce
by Mary Dalton, Brian Bartlett
My first reading of Charles Bruce, in the eighties, awakened aesthetic delight, the pleasure of discovering an accomplished artist, a master of metre and rhythm whose plangent music, quiet and sure-footed, was equal to his vision of the human moving in and with the flow of time. Other responses followed: deep gratitude...and the simmering of something close to rage.
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Great Authors
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers Lists
* Stats based on period from August 9 to September 16 1. Tom Clancy, Red Rabbit (Putnam, Hardcover) 2. Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (Little, Brow, Hardcover) 3. Maeve Binchy, Quentins (McArthur, Paperback) 4. Wayne Johnston, The Navigator of New York (Knopf Canada, Hardcover) 5. Rohinton Mistry, Family Matters (McClelland & Stewart, Hardcover) 6. Robert Jordan, Crossroads of Twilight (Tor, Hardcover) 7. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet (Raincoast, Paperback) 8.
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Outlook
Note from Amazon.ca
by Marven Krug, Steve Duda, Tom Nissley
The early buzz about Michael Redhill's debut novel, Martin Sloane, the winner of this year's Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, was how long Redhill took to write it: a decade's work, a dozen complete drafts. Now, though, all that anyone talks about is how good it is, and how likely it is to endure. As long as Redhill may have taken to complete Martin Sloane ("Long live revision," wrote the Amazon.
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